What is ‘sustainable travel’?
Sustainable travel is a way of travelling the world without negatively affecting the natural and cultural environments, and ultimately being able to maintain tourism in the long run.
“development [which] meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future”World Tourism Organisation
why is this important?
Having always been passionate about environmental causes, and with the current rise in awareness surrounding our climate crisis, I am striving to educate myself on the benefits of sustainable travel and ‘eco-tourism’.
The concept is not entirely new but in the past has lacked awareness, advertising, funding, and in general: popularity. Nowadays, especially with the increasing use of social media, certain locations become ‘trendy’ to visit, with photos plastered all over the internet and online influencers promoting tourism to particular countries and cities around the globe. At the end of the day, the level of any kind of tourism in a location is based on how successful their marketing is.
The recent uproar surrounding climate change has significantly triggered a rise in sustainable travel, as many people have come to the realisation that it does not have to be expensive or difficult!
Yes, there are still major issues with tourism. Air travel is a major contributor to the depletion of fossil fuels which causes dangerous levels of CO2 emissions, and some naturally beautiful sites such as the Great Barrier Reef are being harmed and in some cases destroyed by the sheer quantity of tourists.
But I believe it is absolutely vital to educate tourists on the impact they have socially (or culturally), economically, and environmentally.
how can i travel sustainably?
Next time you’re on holiday, try out these super easy ways of travelling more mindfully…
- Walk as much as possible!
- Use public transport instead of hiring a car (not only is this environmentally friendly, it’s also much cheaper and you are more likely to meet other travellers and engage with the locals!)
- Support locals cafes, restaurants and shops – don’t bother with chains like Starbucks or McDonalds
- Take the time to talk to locals and learn from them
- Volunteer with a local charitable organisation
- Pick up rubbish on the beach and try to recycle it
- Don’t get too close to or touch wild animals
- Try to eat locally sourced food, or try going veggie for a day
- Research your tour operator before booking with them – try to find tours with local guides
- Snorkel and scuba dive responsibly – don’t stand on coral or touch turtles
- Pack light
- Pack eco-friendly items – reusable water bottle, coffee cup, bamboo toothbrush, non-plastic shampoos (try Lush products!)
I hope this has enlightened you on some really simple ways to be conscious of travelling responsibly, and let me know in the comments if you have any extra tips I haven’t mentioned!